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Title Screen


Developer: LeapFrog Enterprises
Publisher: LeapFrog Enterprises
Released in US: October 2003
Released in EU: 2004

DevMessageIcon.png This console has a hidden developer message.
DevTextIcon.png This console has hidden development-related text.
DebugIcon.png This console has debugging material.

The Leapster was an educational games console meant exclusively for young kids, powered by the magic of Macromedia Adobe Flash. It appears to have done decently well for its purpose, having a couple of upgrades along the way.

To do:

Diagnostics Menu

To do:
Add the other debug screens that test stuff like the brightness and change the serial number.


A simple diagnostics screen can be accessed by holding down the Hint button and powering the system on. Here, the user can calibrate the touch controls and get information about the cartridge inserted. This menu is also present in the Leapster LGS (the smaller, green model), Leapster L-Max, Leapster TV and Leapster 2 (an upgraded model that has PC connectivity, along with an overclocked CPU and other upgrades). The bigger difference is that the L-Max and TV also allow the user, by pressing B, to change the video standard when outputting to a TV (NTSC or PAL).

LCD Test Mode

To do:
Verify if this is how you access it. Once this is confirmed to be accessible, get a video capture.

Leapster-LCDColor.png Leapster-GroupPhoto1.png Leapster-Thanks1.png

When the user has entered Diagnostics mode, hold Hint + A + Down to go here instead of the above menu. To progress through the screens, hold the aforementioned buttons down and press B. This will show various staff member photos, including a crowd shot with all of the developers.

(Source: Divingkataetheweirdo (Access), TeamEurope (No Intro))

Dev Texts

Right at 0x100 in the BIOS is a small message.

Copyright LeapFrog

A significantly larger message can also be seen at 0x420, noting the content approval screen:

Lil ducked.  The jet zipped past her head.  Dust flew, Lil sneezed, and Leap turned red.  
Then Lil got up, about to yell.  Leap gasped, "Look, Lil!  Your tooth!  It fell!".
'Approved Content' is content that either is created by LeapFrog or has received final 
approval under contract with LeapFrog.  LeapFrog grants you permission to copy these 
five sentences only if this cartridge contains 'Approved Content'.  If you copy these 
five sentences into your cartridge, a statement will appear on the screen stating that 
the content has been approved by LeapFrog.  If you do not copy these five sentences into 
your cartridge, a statement will appear on the screen stating that the content has not 
been approved by LeapFrog.  Nothing in these five sentences implies permission to copy them.

Leapster BaseROM Universal v1.5

Leap likes his ABCs more than his 1,2,3s.
Lily likes her math better, much more than any letter

ToolPad V2.2.28
Leapster FullBase V1.0.18
Sep 04 2003 10:46:47

Interestingly, the short rhyming verse at the start comes from the "Lil's Loose Tooth" story in the "Leap Into Learning" sample book that came with the original LeapPad.

Revisional Differences

To do:
  • There are a ton of other differences between the different versions of the different models, such as the OG and L-Max.
  • It is also best to add screenshots where possible.

Built-in Software

  • The utmost original Leapster model, with lights in the D-pad circle and stylus connector, has no built-in software, instead displaying an error message on startup when a cartridge is not inserted. This is also the only known Leapster model without the aforementioned diagnostic menu.
  • The updated original Leapster model contains a built-in version of Learning with Leap, missing Catcher Field from the cartridge version, but with secret "web codes" that were usable on a long-defunct service called Leapster World. This model is identifiable with the newer LeapFrog logo stamped on the front, as well as additional availability in Pink, Green, and Red. The lights in the D-pad circle and stylus connector were also removed.
  • The smaller, natively green Leapster model features a completely new interface for the built-in software, including Rabbit River and Color Corral, both from Learning with Leap. Also featured are sneak peeks for current and upcoming cartridge games.
  • The older Leapster L-Max model, usually in red (although units in blue are known to exist as well), is mostly similar to the green Leapster model in terms of built-in software. The main difference is the displaying of the older LeapFrog logo, during startup, instead of the one stamped on the system. As a result, this model seems like more of a prototype.
  • The newer Leapster L-Max model uses the same interface, while replacing the Rabbit River mini game with Scooby-Doo: Scooby Snack Math. Furthermore, many upcoming cartridge games in the "sneak peeks" are now current cartridge games (these teasers originally concluded with the voiceover saying the season and year in which the software would become available).